|at Cornwall Public Inquiry[Part 3 of Ron’s muddled testimony and so-called “recantations”]
Just before Ron Leroux took the stand on Tuesday 26 June 2007, local probation officer and long time resident (50 years) of St. Andrew’s West Joss Van Diepen sought and received “limited” standing at the Cornwall Public Inquiry.
Van Diepen is listed in an affidavit as one of 34 persons or groups Ron saw at one or more of three locations said to be frequented by “the clan.” He commenced employment as a probation officer in 1975 and worked with probation officers Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin, the former a convicted paedophile who committed suicide and the latter an “alleged” paedophile who also committed suicide and is one of those at the heart of the Cornwall sex abuse scandal and cover-up.
According to John R. S. Westdal (Van Diepen’s lawyer) publicity surrounding the allegations of Van Diepen’s involvement with Ken Seguin have had a negative impact: in one instance around two to three years ago a probationer allegedly objected to having Van Diepen as a probation officer claiming he, Van Diepen, is a “homosexual paedophile,” and in another a parolee breached parole because he allegedly believed Van Diepen to be a sexual predator.
However the impetus to seek standing seemed to come from the commission’s heads up on Ron’s ‘anticipated evidence’ which Van Diepen and Westdal deemed “highly prejudicial”:
MR. WESTDAL: I learned late last week and then had further discussions on the weekend with Counsel that the next witness [Ron Leroux] will be making statements about Mr. Van Diepen that are highly prejudicial to him,…
According to Westdal it was understood that Ron’s proposed testimony would amount to an allegation of extortion or blackmail against Van Diepen. Apparently this rested upon Ron’s apparent intent to testify that Van Diepen knew of Seguin’s “illegal sexual activity,” wanted Seguin’s plum post in Morrisburg, Ontario and threatened to report Seguin if he, Van Diepen didn’t get it:
MR. WESTDAL: We have recently learned that the next witness, Mr. Leroux, … has claimed that Mr. Seguin told him that my client was aware of his conduct; that had threatened to disclose that conduct but wouldn’t disclose it if he was able to take over the jurisdiction or the geographical area that Mr. Seguin was operating in. ……
MR. WESTDAL: And I understand that there will be evidence that my client threatened to disclose information, that he’s alleged to have known about, in exchange for obtaining this Morrisburg area, and it’s alleged that there are a number of perks that go along with that.
There were also concerns that Ron was about to testify that Van Diepen had knowledge of Seguin’s activities and remained silent. and that, prior to his death, Seguin had ‘confessed’ to Van Diepen
MR. WESTDAL: He’s alleged to have full knowledge of Mr. Seguin’s illegal sexual activity, and he’s alleged to have been privy to a full confession by Mr. Seguin just prior to his suicide.
The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is presumably representing all ministry staff – that includes probation officers – however because Ron’s anticipated evidence entailed an “illegal act” the Ministry was set to wash it’s hands of its employee, therefore the need for Van Diepen to seek limited standing which would permit him to, among other things, cross-examine witnesses whose testimony directly impacts him personally.
Another interesting dimension to Van Diepen’s application for standing is the fact that although he has not been called by the commission to testify he has apparently indicated if he is called by the commission his evidence may be at variance with that of the Ministry regarding “procedural checks in the office” and such matters as “who knew what.” Whether or not he will be called remains to be seen.
Anyway, Jusrice Normand Glaude granted Mr. Van Diepen limited standing. Once that was cleared up it was on to Ron and his evidence.
Off The List
On 27 June 2007, after Ron testified he had seen Van Diepen at Harv’s Diner, lead commission counsel Peter Engelmann asked if Ron had ever seen Van Diepen at Ken Seguin’s Summerstown home. Ron seemed uncertain:
MR. ENGELMANN: Was he ever over at Ken’s?
MR. LEROUX: I don’t think so; didn’t like him that much.
MR. ENGELMANN: I’m sorry.
MR. LEROUX: I don’t know. No.
MR. ENGELMANN: You don’t recall him being
MR. LEROUX: Like to associate, like to sit in, have a tea or something, or go fishing?
MR. ENGELMANN: Whatever.
MR. LEROUX: He might have, but I didn’t see him.
MR. ENGELMANN: Okay. So if he was there, he wasn’t there frequently.
MR. LEROUX: Yeah.
One day later, on 28 June 2007, however, when Ron eliminated Jos Van Diepen from The list there seemed to be no question in his mind – Van Diepen had nothing to do with Malcolm MacDonald’s cottage, or St. Andrew’s rectory, or Ken Seguin’s Summerstown home; he had lunch or whatever at Harv’s Diner. That was it. Van Diepen was off The List:
MR. LEROUX: Just lunch; this guy had nothing to do with these three places.
The Morrisburg plum
On 27 June when the highly anticipated matter of the plum assignment in Morrisburg came up, the one which seemingly would or might imply blackmail or extortion, Ron seemed to know very little aside from the fact that Ken once had Morrisburg which was a “young offenders territory” and lost it to Van Diepen:
MR. LEROUX: And Joss applied and he got — or went to his boss or something and took his territory from him; and a company car, and a government car. So he lost that.
The issue was broached again 28 June. Nothing implying blackmail or extortion. Ron testified again that Ken Seguin had the job at Morrisburg taken away from him by Van Diepen, but he had no idea why:
MR. ENGELMANN: And you also mentioned that Mr. Seguin had talked to you about his relationship with Mr. Van Diepen, from time to time.
MR. LEROUX: Yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: So that was — that was obviously during the time that you and Mr. Seguin were friends.
MR. LEROUX: Yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: And you mentioned something that Mr. Seguin said happened around the time he received his pin for 20 years of service.
MR. LEROUX: His 20 year service pin; yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: I recall you said something about an assignment in and around Morrisburg.
MR. LEROUX: Yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: Can you explain to us what Mr. Seguin told you about that?
MR. LEROUX: He said, I think it was on Wednesdays, he would go up. He’d have his own car — he’d have a company car or a government car and he had expense money for meals. And he just liked to go on that little trip. It made his salary a bit larger, and he had that taken away from him.
MR. ENGELMANN: Did he explain how that was taken away?
MR. LEROUX: He said Joss Van Diepen took it.
MR. ENGELMANN: Did he tell you anything more about —
MR. LEROUX: No.
MR. ENGELMANN: — how he came to take it?
MR. LEROUX: No.
MR. ENGELMANN: All right
If it was anticipated Ron would testify Van Diepen black-mailed Ken Seguin, he did not. If Ron told commission staff that’s what happened, he did not follow through with such testimony on the stand.
“Argument” at the funeral
As much as Ron may have negated or minimized Van Diepen’s social interaction with Ken Seguin on that level there was still an issue regarding what Van Diepen allegedly told Ron the day of Ken Seguin’s funeral.
According to Ron’s 27 June 2007 testimony he and Van Diepen got into an argument at Wilson’s funeral home. Ron said he no longer recalls what the argument was about:
Just a little argument about something, I’m not even sure any more what the hell I said. But we got into a little bit of an argument, something about work; paperwork that he [Ken Seguin I believe] had left behind or something like that. I said — you know — we had a discussion of it.
There was a small diversion when Ron said he had deduced that Ken Seguin and Van Diepen didn’t get along. He said that Van Diepen “picked” at Seguin a lot:
— he picked at him a lot, I mean, about his — he picked at him.
In that vein Ron recalled get togethers at Harv’s Diner where Seguin would make comments about Van Diepen:
MR. LEROUX: …when we’d go to the restaurant, he’d say “That a-hole” and things like that; giving me a hard time; picking at me and making snide remarks. [ “giving me a hard time; picking at me and making snide remarks.”]
(For clarity I have put in quotes and square brackets a phrase which I beleive was Ron mimicking Seguin’s words) Then it was back to the day of Seguin’s funeral and the “argument” with Van Diepen. Ron was mimicking Van Diepen saying he, Van Diepen, had warned Seguin about fooling around with parolees. Read the following excerpt. It’s a bit confusing but chiefly so because in most instances Ron is mimicking what Van Diepen allegedly told Ron he, Van Diepen, had said to Seguin. For clarity’s sake therefore, as above, I have put those areas which I believe Ron was attributing to Van Diepen in quotes in square brackets:
MR. LEROUX: Then Joss said something when we were at the funeral parlour. Well, I’d warn him I don’t how many times. I warned him. [“I’d warn him I don’t how many times. I warned him”] Well, a warning — what the hell is a warning going to do?
THE COMMISSIONER: What’s a warning about?
MR. LEROUX: About his fooling with his young parolees.
MR. ENGELMANN: You have to speak into the microphone.
MR. LEROUX: Fooling around with his young parolees — whatever they —
MR. ENGELMANN: All right.
THE COMMISSIONER: All right.
MR. ENGELMANN: So —
MR. LEROUX: Told him to watch his step.
MR. ENGELMANN: Mr. Van Diepen?
MR. LEROUX: Yeah. I told him to watch his step. I told him [“I told him to watch his step. I told him”] —
MR. ENGELMANN: So Mr. Van Diepen was telling you that he had warned Ken about his behaviour.
MR. LEROUX: Yeah. Warned him about his behaviour and you know — “I don’t know how many times I told him to watch his step”. He knew what he was doing, apparently. He knew what he was doing — what Ken was doing.
At that Engelmann asked what the argument was about, and it seems from Ron’s reply that it may have transpired because Ron knew that Van Diepen knew what Ken was up to and did nothing to stop it or to help Seguin:
MR. ENGELMANN: Why the argument?
MR. LEROUX: Why didn’t he help him? He is in the office with him. He knew he was having problems. You work in an office for years with somebody and you work with him every day. Why be mean to them? Why don’t you go and help them. Why didn’t he go to Corrections and Parole and say, “Look this guy should be — should not be here. This guy should have another — be in another branch or something of the government, or should be doing something else, because I know what he’s doing.” But if you know and you don’t help, I mean, what the hell is this —
Whereupon Engelmann turned tables and asked Ron if the same couldn’t be said for him. Ron first said he did tell. Then, as you will see, he said it was too late, and then he tried to explain how he wanted to but couldn’t tell Seguin’s boss:
MR. ENGELMANN: Mr. Leroux?
MR. LEROUX: Yes?
MR. ENGELMANN: Couldn’t he say the same about you?
MR. LEROUX: Sure, he could have. Yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: Couldn’t he have said the same about you?
MR. LEROUX: Yes. Oh, he didn’t like me either.
MR. ENGELMANN: No, but you say Mr. Van Diepen should have helped him; should have told people —
MR. LEROUX: Yes.
MR. ENGELMANN: But you could have done that too sir.
MR. LEROUX: I did.
MR. ENGELMANN: I’m sorry?
MR. LEROUX: I did to the best of my ability. I did.
MR. ENGELMANN: Who did you tell?
MR. LEROUX: Tell? It was too late when I started to tell. Who are you going to call? I wouldn’t even call the cops for a car accident. (Laughter/rires.)
MR. ENGELMANN: But. Mr. Van Diepen could have spoken to his boss about Ken and what he knew about Ken. Couldn’t you have spoken to Ken’s boss, as well?
MR. LEROUX: I was with Ken’s boss at — we took our dogs to a training thing every Friday night, at a school on 3rd Street. This guy, you just couldn’t talk to him. He was arrogant. He was —
THE COMMISSIONER: Which boss are you talking about there?
MR. LEROUX: Mr. Robert — Emile Robert.
THE COMMISSIONER: Okay. M’hm.
MR. LEROUX: He’d always have his kids with him so you wouldn’t say so much, and I’d always say “How’s Ken doing?” — hint around, but there was nothing coming back.
At the end of his examination in chief, that’s basically where it’s at. If Ron Leroux told commission counsel or investigators he would testify that Van Diepen blackmailed Seguin to get the plum Morrisburg territory, it didn’t happen.
If Ron said he would testify that Seguin told Van Diepen everything before he, Seguin, died, it didn’t happen.
Ron did more or less remove Van Diepen from The List. Van Diepen is, however, still on Gerry Renshaw’s list. And, for the time being at least, he’s still on C-8’s list. But, he’s off Ron’s list. Ron tesfied he
And Ron did testify that Van Diepen knew of Seguin’s sexual activity with parolees and did nothing about it.
And he did testify that he too knew of Seguin’s activities and did nothing about it.
Click to see other commentary re Ron Leroux’ muddled testimony re (1) Cameron’s Point and the ritual